Computer formula ‘could speed up finding people lost at sea and save thousands of lives’

A new computer algorithm could speed up the process of finding people lost at sea, potentially saving thousands of lives, researchers have said.

Every year, thousands of people die at sea in ship and plane accidents, and finding them rapidly is crucial as survival chances plummet after six hours.

The algorithm combines movement patterns with data about ocean currents, making it far faster to track down objects or people lost in the sea.

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Professor George Haller, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (ETH), said: “Our hope is this method will become a standard part of the toolkit of coast guards everywhere.”

The researchers identified paths along which objects on the surface of the sea tend to float – and checked their theories using U.S. Coast Guard data.

They found that buoys and manikins thrown into the

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